Awnsham Churchill (1658 – 1728) & John Churchill (active 1690 – 1714)
were brothers and born in Dorchester, Dorset. They entered into the business as booksellers and stationers at the sign of the Black Swan in Paternoster Row, London.
Awnsham was also a radical Whig politician who sat in the English and British House of Commons from 1705 to 1710. He died in 1728 and his brother John succeeded to his estate. With the advice and encouragement of the philosopher John Locke, the Churchill brothers published their „Collection of Voyages and Travels“ which was issued to subscribers in four volumes in 1704. Two more volumes came out in a reissue of 1732. A third edition of the six volumes is dated 1744-6; and another edition by Thomas Osborne in 1752. The editions were in constant use by contemporary travellers.
This map is contained in the 1732 edition whose full title is: „A Collection of Voyages and Travels some Now first Printed from Original Manuscripts, others Now First Published in English. In Six Volumes. With a General Preface, giving an Account of the Progress of Navigation, from its first Beginning. Illustrated with a great Number of useful Maps and Cuts, Curiously Engraven. Vol. V.“
Among the most important of the many accounts in the 1732 edition is the voyage „made by the command of Christian IV. King of Denmark c. for the discovery of a passage betwixt Greenland and America to the East-Indies; the success of which proved very unfortunate, as will be evident from the ensuing treatise“. It took place in 1619/20 by Captain John Monck. Another Account is covered by „a representation of that part of Greenland known by the name of Spitsbergen“.
This rare map shows New Brunswick( „New Denmark“) in Canada, „America“, Greenland, Iceland, the mythical island of Frisland, the Faroe and Shetland Islands, the northern parts of Scotland and Ireland and the western part of Norway. The Arctic Circle runs across the whole map but is drawn much too south.
In the preface of the fifth volume this description is to be found: „This map is regulated according to four several elevations, which were left known to us to wit, of cape Farewel, of Iceland, of Spitsbergen and of that place in Christian‘s sea, where capt. Munck passed the winter in his voyage, which in this map is to be found under the name of Munck‘s Winter-Harbour“.
The depiction of the north-eastern part of „Groenland“ is curious. An island is to be seen named „Spitsbergen or Greenland“ which is described „as the most northern part of the world, which hitherto has come to our knowledge, being situated betwixt Nova Zembla and Greenland. It is called Spitsbergen from its high and piqued mountains which are seen at sea“.
Iceland („Island“) is completely empty.